Friday, 18 August 2017

LET'S TALK ABOUT TAE BO!

Some people never forget their first love.

Mine was probably Tae Bo.





I read about it back when I was in my early twenties and trying to lose weight - someone from "Melrose Place" was being interviewed about their fitness regime and talking about how they did Tae Bo classes. I had no idea who the actress was (I only ever saw the first series of the show and she definitely wasn't on that particular series) but she had a good body and I was utterly intrigued by the idea of a workout consisting of punches and kicks. It sounded like the kind of workout that even unfit little old me could get on board with.

I did my research and I eventually bought a VHS (I know - how old am I!!!) of a Tae Bo workout - it was the only one I could find at the time in my local Woolies and it cost me something ridiculous like sixteen pounds, but I was so excited. It was just a basic workout but I was ridiculously excited about it and loved it. Combined with my calorie counting, I lost loads of weight and really toned up.

Over the years since, I've forgotten about Tae Bo, then remembered about it and fallen in love with it all over again. Well, as much as *I* can fall in love with exercise - let's just say I like it more than any other workout. Why do I think it's so good?

1) Time goes much quicker doing Tae Bo than any other workout. Possibly because you're concentrating on trying to get a move or a combo right and it means that you don't notice the time as much.

2) It's really high energy but you don't necessarily need to jump around a lot. I hate jumping around too much as my ankles and legs get sore easily. Also, I live in a third floor flat and I don't want my downstairs neighbours to think there's a baby elephant living upstairs doing aerobics.

3)You're working your core so much without even really realising it. Jabbing across the body works your waist and there's loads of sneaky other moves that are pretty much standing-up crunches but combined with other moves so you don't notice as much.

4)There is little more therapeutic after a shit day than punching and kicking the air while imagining someone who has really really fucked you off that day. Trust me. It's truly magical.

And then there's one final amazing thing - I don't really like working out in the morning, I'm usually too tired and I don't always have time to wash my hair after a workout in the morning. However, I've found a number of short eight minute workouts online which means I can painfully quickly wriggle in and out of my straitjacket sports bra, do a decent quick workout without too much bouncing around, and then jump quickly in the shower without having to wash my hair . . . because I've felt like I've worked hard, but it's over fast and while I'm sweaty, I haven't reached the sweaty hair stage.  For me, this is just a little bonus workout, I still try and get something else done later, but it makes me feel good to have gotten a little additional workout prior to work because it does make you feel a bit more alert and ready for anything.

These workouts are on youtube and are completely free . . . and, as I said, they're over with in less than ten minutes!

This one is probably my favourite



I don't like this one quite as much but it's good for a wee change



And this one calls itself an eight minute workout but it also has quite a long warm-up with stretches at the start and a short cool down, so while the main workout is eight minutes, it works out as more a 15 minute workout in total. It's a bit more involved than the previous two, with a bit more lower body workout thrown in, so it's definitely worth a shot if you have a wee bit more time to spare.



If you've never entered the world of Tae Bo before, I would definitely recommend it. There are absolutely LOADS of workouts available free on youtube  apart from the ones I've embedded in this post, so it's definitely worth a look on there - there are also plenty of DVDs available of the workouts on amazon - have a look here - and some of them are pretty cheap so if you try the youtube workouts and like it you can build up a little collection of DVDs if you're so inclined.

Just watch out for that Billy Blanks, if he tells you "one more set" he's usually lying and you'll still be doing that "one more set" four sets later. Be warned! ;-) BUT it's old school, it's fun, it's therapeutic and it works you out - what more can you ask for? I'd definitely recommend it!

Have you ever tried Tae Bo?

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

P'S 2017 READING CHALLENGE . . . PART 4!

It's been a wee while since I posted about my reading challenge . . . this isn't because I haven't been reading by any means! Well it is a little bit but I still have a backlog of books I've read and haven't yet posted up here, so that's no excuse. I guess it's just that I'm a bit lazy! Reading a book is far more easy than writing about the book when it comes down to it. (Probably another reason why I couldn't be a book blogger!) But anyway, let's get down to it, with the next five books I've read so far this year!



Single for the Summer - Mandy Baggot

Now, I actually read this back when I was in Lanzarote in May; however, because I had got a free copy of it through Netgalley, it wasn't actually officially published yet at that point so I didn't really feel I could post about it. It is now out though, so yay!!! What immediately struck me about this book was that it was set in the village of Kalami, which was the first place I ever stayed when I went to Corfu for the first time in 2014. I absolutely loved it there and, although I'm sure some of the places were fictional, there were enough real life places thrown in to really take me back three years and yearn to go back. (This year I'm going to Kavos, which begins with the same letter, but really isn't quite the same.) This story features Tess as our heroine - to say she is a commitment-phobe is probably a pretty big understatement - who goes on holiday with her heartbroken best friend to Corfu, pledging to the friend that she will not get into a relationship this time. And she fully intends to stick to her pact, even when the gorgeous Andras asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend to get his mum off his back. But there's often a fine line between reality and fiction . . . I loved this book, it was funny and sweet and romantic . . . and it was interesting to find out exactly what had happened to Tess to make her the way she was. Warning: whether you have been to Kalami or not, this book will make you itch to go there asap! 8/10

Seven Steps to Happiness - Stella Newman

Lenny is a bit of a free spirit, with a career which keeps her away from home a lot, and a boyfriend-who-isn't-really-a-boyfriend, while Juliet is happily married with a great career and a pretty-much-grown-up daughter. Neither of them are entirely happy with their lives though, especially when Juliet discovers that her perfect marriage has more cracks in it than she ever could have realised . . . so when Lenny is given the chance to try an app that promotes happiness, she decides both she and Juliet could use this! This book was a bit slow to get going but once I was into it I found myself very invested in the characters and hoping they would find their happiness. Oh, and it will really make you want to eat a cheese toastie, so this is my second book in this post with a warning! 7/10


Love From Paris - Alexandra Potter

I have loved Alexandra Potter's novels since her debut "What's New, Pussycat?" many moons ago. "Love From Paris" was no exception to this. Now, technically, this book is the second in "The Love Detective" series but you don't actually need to have read the first book in order to enjoy this one . . . to be honest, I feel like I read the first one so long ago that I could barely remember the plot, except what was mentioned in this book with regards to Ruby's (our protagonist!) past. This was an enjoyable, intriguing story, where Ruby decides to visit her friend Harriet in Paris after feeling let down by her long-distance boyfriend Jack. Once there, she finds a mysterious bunch of letters hidden in an apartment and an attractive lawyer who seems to be interested in her. Will she get to the bottom of the letter mystery . . . and which guy is she meant to be with? In amongst all this you have the beautiful backdrop of gorgeous Paris, which is just the icing on the cake. Definitely a good wee read, a gentle, funny page-turner with a lovely additional plot set in the past. 8/10


Him Downstairs - Sherill Turner

I'd never heard of this book prior to ordering it, but I was browsing through amazon on my Kindle and was intrigued by the premise, so decided to go for it! It's always hard to cope with a break-up . . . but what if your ex lives in the flat directly underneath you? That's the case for Lucy, who had formed an amazing relationship with Tom . . . until the strain of his recent separation from his wife and two kids takes its toll and he breaks up with her. Absolutely gutted, Lucy tries her best to move on but she can't help but run into him all the bloody time given his proximity! This was a funny but very honest look at trying to get over a break-up and the hope you often hold, as the one who has been broken up with, that you'll maybe get back together someday. I definitely couldn't stop reading! 7/10

The Law of Attraction - Roxie Cooper

I feel like I had been waiting for this book to be released for so long! I had been following Roxie on twitter for YEARS, before I even knew she had a book deal, so when I found out she DID have a book deal, I was so excited to read it. Of course, I was worried that I had hyped the book up too much in my head, but I was delighted to discover it was brilliant! It takes you into the world of Chambers and barristers, where platinum blonde Amanda, who didn't grow up in a privileged background by any means, has just been accepted for a pupillage for a year, against all odds. The aforementioned odds are stacked against her even more when she discovers she's competing in an internship against horrible Martin from her previous course - and he has somehow managed to twist the entire chambers around his little finger, while Amanda struggles to be taken seriously by the men, and is bitched about by the women. However, Amanda didn't get where she was without a struggle, and she's not going to give her dream up without a fight. But will a secret from her past send her dreams crashing to the ground? This is an excellent book, I devoured it in less than a day - it was so interesting seeing what goes behind closed doors in chambers, the dialogue was great, Cooper has created a great heroine in Amanda and the slimy antagonist Marty was brilliantly captured too . . . and of course there was a nice little romantic storyline too just to add to everything else that was going on. I loved this book and can't speak more highly of it! 10/10


So a wee update to the challenge so far . . . at the moment I'm standing at 24 books (which means just one more book and a part 5 post will be in the offing) and according to Goodreads this means I'm "On track". As usual, since I got back my holiday I have definitely dialled down on my reading which means I'm thinking "Oh holy shite, I only have four and a half months to read SIXTEEN BOOKS!!! . . . however, I have TWO abroad holidays coming up in the next two months so that means I should be able to make up for lost time. Fingers crossed anyway!!!

What have YOU been reading recently?

Monday, 14 August 2017

P'S TOP PICKS: SWIMWEAR-TO-LIE-FOR!

Now, as you may have noticed a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned I was going on holiday soon. Well, as of last week, I now have two holidays to look forward to in the next two months - so it's Kavos in less than two weeks time and then, just a month later, I'm off to Ibiza.

So I've now started looking into swimwear and whether I can actually afford to buy any new pieces. Given that I've went a bit over-the-top in asos and boohoo already on dresses etc this might be a struggle. I don't actually know if I can buy anything else (unless I want to just exist on water when I'm on aforementioned holidays) but a girl can dream, right???

So here is some fabulous swimwear I have found which is just perfect to lie around the pool in! (Well, once I manage to lose several spare tyres, that is!)



Clockwise from top left: Asos Riviera Floral Print Frill Bikini / Boohoo Petite Heather Tropical Flower Lace-Up Bikini / Missguided Red Printed Low Side Swimsuit / River Island Scuba Scallop Swimsuit



Clockwise from top left: New Look Print Tropical Mesh Panel Swimsuit / Asos Sunshine Floral Print Bandeau Tie Swimsuit / Pimkie Floral Ditsy Print Swimsuit / Madrid Kaleidoscope Triangle Bikini

I don't know if it's just me, but I do see a lot of swimwear out there that looks nice but which looks completely impractical in terms of tanning. For example, I don't really want a bikini with random cut-outs, or extra straps, or a cold shoulder - the tan lines are just going to be ridiculous! So I have tried to choose relatively practical styles, while still looking good . . . personally, I think I've did a pretty good job!

What do you think?

Friday, 11 August 2017

SLEEPING BEAUTY? PERHAPS NOT . . .

So the other week when we were on the way into the office, oh-so-happily as per usual (yes, that was sarcasm), there was a segment of the radio show we were listening to where they were inviting listeners  to share stories about when they fell asleep at a party. Or something like that. I have to admit I was only half listening as I was too busy opening my wunderlist app to make a note in my blog post ideas list. ;-)

I'd love to say I don't have my own story but I do. I have a couple of them.

I've mentioned before that I have lots of trouble sleeping . . . except when I've had a good few drinks in me. Once that happens I can conk out like a light. Anywhere.

I've fallen asleep at a gig. And, more recently, on my team's Christmas night out, while just sitting at the table.

But the one that took the cake was the time I fell asleep at my friend's house on New Year's Eve a good few years ago. I was in a wee bit of an emotional black hole that night and let's just say I'd drank rather a lot to forget . . . as well as the fact it was new year's eve obviously which almost necessitates a lot of drinkies! So after the pre-night out drinks, the night out drinks and the post-night out drinks, I was rather drunken. And I fell asleep on my friend's couch. I must have woken up later and moved as I woke up in a bed, but I was most definitely asleep on the couch prior to that.

Because I found these pictures on Facebook the next day . . .


Yep, my friends had decided to have a wee bit of fun at my expense while I snoozed.

 

The bit that seemed to tickle people's funnybone the most was the bottle of Cif.

Annoyingly, I did not get to keep the alcohol.

So Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have lovely plans for tonight, drunken or otherwise, and I'd love you to share any drunken falling-asleep stories you have in the comments if you're so inclined!